Respected oil analyst Charles Maxwell has told Forbes – and with it the North American business establishment – to brace itself for peak oil by “2017 or 2018.”
present when the term peak oil was coined, went on to obtain a degree of mainstream respect for the concept, based on the pioneering work of M King Hubbert. In the Forbes interview, Maxwell suggests “around 2015, we will hit a near-plateau of production around the world,” with peak oil experienced within two to three years of this.
Much of the reaction to this isn’t over what was said – Maxwell has voiced similar peak oil warnings previously – so much as where it was said. Forbes is not noted as a friend of the peak oil hypothesis, which states geological restrictions mean there will be a time of maximum oil output and that, despite investment and innovation, production will subsequently diminish. Unconventional oil supplies such as Canadian oilsands will not be able to prevent this, despite the hype. Canada’s Prime Minister may claim “Alberta's tar sands are second only to Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil reserve,” but these are “energy- and capital- and time-intensive” and have lousy flow rates – output cannot be scaled up to meet the ravenous global demand for oil.
An item in Oil Price, with the clear headline Respected Oil Analyst Forecasts Peak Oil by 2017, notes with surprise that:
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